Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel by Robin Sloan


The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone—and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead “checking out” impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he’s embarked on a complex analysis of the customers’ behavior and roped his friends into helping to figure out just what’s going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, it turns out the secrets extend far outside the walls of the bookstore.

With irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan has crafted a literary adventure story for the twenty-first century, evoking both the fairy-tale charm of Haruki Murakami and the enthusiastic novel-of-ideas wizardry of Neal Stephenson or a young Umberto Eco, but with a unique and feisty sensibility that’s rare to the world of literary fiction. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave, a modern-day cabinet of wonders ready to give a jolt of energy to every curious reader, no matter the time of day.

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  • Mar

    Hi everyone! Just a note: no need to have read the book to join us. We talk about anything! :) Stop by to get a feel for what we're about.

    June 5, 2013

    • Sandi

      This removes the pressure I've felt in the passed not being prepared; thank you for posting this.

      June 7, 2013

  • Daryl

    I hate to bail at the last minute, but I've been having some trouble with my back and sitting for extended periods of time is a problem.

    June 5, 2013

    • Sandi

      Just noticed your post, boy can I relate to how you phrase 'sitting for extended periods of time'; hope you're feeling better soon.

      June 7, 2013

  • Brenda C.

    Loved the bookstore setting - and all the adventures that happened as the narrator took us on his journey.

    June 6, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Light, fluffy, sweet

    June 6, 2013

  • Mar

    For those of you still planning on making it, we reserved a booth in the corner in the bar area.

    June 5, 2013

  • Doug A.

    Sorry not be there but my company's product is going to launch in the next ten days. Anyone who wants an invitation to be in on it please email me. This book was very good.

    June 5, 2013

  • Sandi

    Dratted disk ok back just locked up- unless I can get it to unlock on my own, chiropractor not available till Friday. So sorry- loved the book though

    June 5, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    And also like the "no check-fumble" process! Glad to know they've got good salads!

    1 · June 3, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm looking forward to seeing everyone!

    June 3, 2013

  • Mar

    Hi All,
    If you haven't been, Harry's is a cafeteria style carvery. I like their salads. You pay for your own meal at the register, so no more fumbling with a huge check this time! :)

    June 3, 2013

  • Brenda C.

    Hi Jenny - I received your e-mail - and am looking forward to Wednesday evening! See you and everyone then!

    June 3, 2013

  • Haydee L.

    Thank Jenny, I'll get the book today!

    1 · April 15, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    i bought this book - will attend if time allows. thanks - hope to catch up.

    1 · April 14, 2013

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